The Making of a Nation eBook

Charles Foster Kent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 125 pages of information about The Making of a Nation.
land of Egypt, entered Palestine from the east.  Throughout all its history the east-Jordan land has witnessed the constant transition of Arab tribes from the nomadic life of the desert to the more settled civilization, of agricultural Palestine.  Here on the eastern heights that overlook the Jordan valley and the land of Canaan the traveller still finds the Arab tents and flocks of the nomads beside the plowed fields of the village-dwellers.  On the rolling plains of northern Moab and southern Gilead there are few commanding heights or natural fortresses.  The important towns, like Dibon and Heshbon, lay on slightly rising hills.  The character of the ruins to-day does not indicate that they were ever surrounded by formidable walls.  Whether the Hebrews conquered them by open attack or by strategy, as in the case of the town of Ai, is not stated.  It is certain, however, that here they first gained a permanent foothold in agricultural Palestine.  From the conquered they here learned their initial lessons in the arts of agriculture and became acquainted with that more advanced Canaanite civilization which they later absorbed.  Coming fresh from the desert, where only the fittest survived, their numbers rapidly increased in this quieter and more favorable environment.  Soon to the constant pressure of the desert population on the east was added that of over-population, so that necessity, as well as ambition, impelled them to cross the Jordan to seek homes among the hills to the west.

V.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MOSES’ WORK.

The study of the beginnings of Israel’s history in the light of its physical, social and economic environment reveals clearly the many powerful forces then at work.  At the same time these do not alone explain Israel’s later history and the uniqueness of its character and faith.  These later facts plainly point back to a strong, commanding personality, who shaped the ideals and institutions of this early people and left upon them the imperishable imprint of his own unique individuality.  Although the traditions regarding him have been transmitted for centuries from mouth to mouth, they portray the character and work of Moses with remarkable clarity and impressiveness.  Moses was primarily a patriot.  He was also a prophet-statesman, able to grasp and interpret the significance of the great crises in the life of his people and to suggest practical solutions.  Moreover, he was able to inspire confidence, and to lead as well as direct.  In the harsh environment of the wilderness he was able to adjust himself to most difficult conditions.  In leading the Hebrew serfs from the land of Egypt, he became indeed the creator of the future Hebrew nation.  In the wilderness be trained that child nation.  As judge and counsellor, he taught concretely the broad principles which became the foundation of later Hebrew law.

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The Making of a Nation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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